NEW YORK -- Second-seeded
The men had played on Monday the last five years because of rain delays.
Djokovic, a 26-year-old Serbian who won the
Nadal, who took a 21-match winning streak on hard courts this summer into the final, won a Grand Slam title this year at the
Since then, Nadal hasn't lost a match and he hadn't lost his serve at the U.S. Open until the semifinals against
Although Nadal leads the head-to-head series, 21-15, Djokovic had won four of the last five meetings on hard courts.
In the first set, Nadal broke Djokovic's serve in the third game, earned another break and breezed to a 6-2 win in 42 minutes.
Djokovic, who needed more than four hours to defeat
It seemed he had with a service break after a 54-shot rally on one point helped give him a 4-2 lead, but Nadal immediately got the break back to make it 4-3.
Djokovic ended up winning the set after breaking serve in the eighth game and winning the ninth with an aggressive backhand winner to tie the match at a set each.
The Serb took the early 2-0 lead in the second set after breaking Nadal's serve in the first game, putting the Spaniard on the defensive. But Nadal evened the set, 3-3, by breaking back in the sixth game and went on to win the third set.
In the fourth set, Nadal seemed to be playing harder, serving bigger, hitting the lines and making the ball dance with his lefty spin.